2015 will mark the 30th anniversary of bi-annual Brazilian music festival Rock in Rio, but that won’t be the only cause for celebration. The festival has just announced its third offshoot event (following editions in Lisbon and Madrid), set for Las Vegas in May of 2015.
Considered to be the world’s largest music festival, Rock in Rio’s big entry into the U.S. is the result of a partnership between the festival and Cirque du Soleil, MGM Resorts International, and developer Ron Burkle of The Yucaipa Companies. According to Billboard, a deal is currently in place to hold the event once every two years between now and 2019. Of course before any of that can happen, Rock in Rio must establish a new City of Rock in Vegas.
City of Rock is the home venue for the festival, and Vegas’ version is going to have all the state-of-the-art flash and pop you’d expect from Sin City. To be constructed near Circus Circus, the City will be a 33-acre, 80,000-person capacity open-air venue with five stages, including specific EDM and “indie” stages. As attendees traverse the grounds they’ll walk through “streetscapes” designed to feel like the U.K., Brazil, and the U.S.A., complete with geographically-appropriate food, shopping, and street art. There are also plans for amusement rides like a giant roulette table ferris wheel and a 400-foot zip-line which, if the mockups become reality, will take fans right in front of the main stage.
“We had our engineers design all the infrastructure, because we have the experience of premiere and world-class outdoor venues,” said Rock in Rio CEO Luis Justo. “It’s all underground cabling, artificial grass, real toilets — it’s a very premium festival experience.
All that infrastructure won’t be purely permanent, however. Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts International president and chief marketing officer, told Billboard that the entertainment venue will be utilized for other events between Rock in Rio’s festivals. “…we have the venue for other like activities, whether it’s a country, jazz or food festival. We could also envision doing outdoor boxing or UFC matches for 50,000 people, or we could set up a temporary environment for Major League Soccer.” Though Cirque du Soleil’s production house is a partner and part owner of the venue, they don’t have sights set on bringing their acrobatic acts to the City of Rock as of yet.
Rock in Rio Las Vegas is to be a four day event bringing in over 100 acts from various genres. Other recent editions of the festival have featured Justin Timberlake, Metallica, David Guetta, and Beyoncé. This May’s Lisbon incarnation will feature The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Pretty Lights, and more. Most recently, Bruce Springsteen played an epic three-hour set at last September’s festival in Brazil. With EDM’s popularity in Vegas (see: Electric Daisy Carnival), you can be sure Rock in Rio has some special tricks in store for electronic fans.
“At the end of the last headliner on the main stage,” Justo told Billboard, “a DJ will literally come flying from the main stage to the middle of the crowd [where the EDM stage will be located]. And Rock in Rio will transform into a 360-degree nightclub.”
Tickets for the festival go on sale January 15th, but you can reserve yours way in advance by signing up at Rock in Rio’s website. Below, watch a virtual tour of the purposed Las Vegas City of Rock.